Do you know what is perfect for a rainy day? A playdate? Any sick day? Or a just-about-an-anything day? Homemade musical instruments!!
If you are just not sure what to do with the little ones, making a homemade musical instrument band is always the answer. There is so much fun to be had and amazing memories to create as well.
I originally wrote this post on DIY musical instruments a few years ago, so I thought I would share it again, as it really is a classic kids’ activity. I hope you like it!
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With the weather turning chilly, we are finding ourselves inside more often. More indoor play, reading, art, and far more crafting too. In fact, I am trying very hard to pick up knitting once again (and when I say once again, I mean from when I was about 8 years old). I have successfully knitted 2 hats (and unsuccessfully knitted a ton of other… ‘things’).
The kids have also found themselves creating a lot more. And, new to us, there has been a lot of crafting homemade musical instruments. The boys have always loved to dance (or run with their arms flailing) to music, but have only just begun to show an interest in creating the music themselves.
With a looooonnnng winter ahead, I thought it would be a good idea to stock up on some ideas for homemade musical instruments. And well, I kinda got carried away… So I bring you:
42 Splendidly Creative Homemade Musical Instruments!
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Instruments for Shaking
Rhythmic Shaker – This was the activity that started the fascination with DIY musical instruments for my boys. A classic really, but with a neat twist!
Sensory Bin Shakers by Fun-a-day – Such a lovely way to extend on a sensory bin.
Paper Plate Tambourine by She Knows – A classic activity with some weaving too—a great way to practice fine motor skills while creating homemade instruments! A paper plate, some jingle bells, and yarn or string are all you need.
Jingle Bells by Chasing Cheerios (link no longer available) – Such a lovely musical instrument for little musicians! These little jingle bell sticks are perfect for holiday preschool concerts.
Ankle Bells by Mini Eco – I think that this knitted project is just what my daughter Madeline has been looking for to create homemade Christmas gifts for her brothers! The colorful yarn is gorgeous too.
Recycled Instruments for Shaking!
Fancy Egg Shakers by Mama Smiles – We love this classic homemade musical instrument for kids! A great way to reuse those plastic Easter eggs too.
DIY Rain Sticks by The Imagination Tree – My little ones would love creating this version of a rain stick. Any craft that involves a hammer is right up their alley!
Maracas by What’s up Fagans – What a simple, creative idea! Another great way to use up those plastic easter eggs. A whole class set would be simple to whip up.
Whisk Maracas by ALLterNATIVE Learning – I love that you can make this for your little ones in a matter of moments, perfect for in the kitchen when making dinner too.
Cardboard Rattle Drum by Pink Stripey Socks – This is a neat instrument for preschoolers to explore!
Rainstick by FSPDT – I used a rainstick in my Kindergarten classroom as a way of getting little ones’ attention and preparing them for transitions, but it also makes a unique homemade musical instrument!
Instruments for Plucking or Strumming
Kalimba Musical Instrument by Herding Cats George – A paper plate (and we all know my love for a good paper plate craft!) and some popsicle sticks make this craft perfect for using what you have on hand.
Nutshell Musical Instrument by Artists Helping Children – Now this is an easy homemade instrument! A nutshell, a rubber band, and a stick are all your little one needs to get rocking.
Pin Strummer by Piikea – This one was new to me, but looks so simple, interesting, and inviting I can’t wait to give it a try (or should I say a DIY) with my kids.
Matchbox Guitar by Martha Stewart (link no longer available) – Incredible homemade musical instruments AND fantastic for fine motor skill development. Can’t beat it! (Really, you can’t—you are supposed to strum it.)
Cup Drum also by Play, Sing, Laugh (link no longer available) – This one will be a neat one to try! Also great for developing a pincer grip.
DIY Strummies by Teach Preschool – Some rubber bands, a box, some creativity, and you are good to go! This activity was an extension to a book—a really neat one, too!
DIY Wooden Instruments by Hello Bee – These are perhaps more adult-made, but simply gorgeous—and durable too!
Baby Guitar by House of Burke – Starring Rockstar baby Kingston and supplies you already have!
Noisemakers by FSPDT – sometimes it is the simplest of things that spark the most creativity in my little ones – these simple shakers are great musical instruments!
Homemade Musical Instruments for HITTING and BANGING!
Rainbow Xylophone by And Next Comes L – Nothing quite as inviting as playing with rainbow colours on a dull winter’s day! This craft will be tucked safely up my sleeve until February, I do believe. (Do you remember me whining about February last year?)
Steel Drums by Sugar Aunts – This post is all about a Rockin’ Drum Birthday Party—loads of ideas for homemade drums and more!
Wooden Xylophone by In Lieu of Preschool (link no longer available) – What a neat idea! I love the trick of using colours to help teach little ones to play music.
Rainbow Water Xylophone by Still Playing School – Another classic homemade musical instrument with a twist! What a neat idea to add some food colouring… and a light table!
Bop-o-phone by My Musical Magic – Homemade musical instruments, in general, are great to brighten dull days, this bop-o-phone looks like it would brighten even the darkest, greyest of winter days!
Outdoor Musical Instruments (also great for HITTING and BANGING!)
Pot Bell by Play, Sing, Laugh (link no longer available) – We have a few terra cotta pots leftover from the summer that could be put to good musical use this winter.
Melody Pole by Timotay Playscapes (link no longer available) – Because even in the winter, we will be outside every day!
Disc Cymbals by Happy Hooligans – So simple, fun, and creative! And I bet they are a nice quieter alternative to some homemade cymbals.
Balloon Bongo Drums by Kids Activities Blog – Such a neat idea to use balloons for the drum surface!
Wrench Xylophone by De Tout et De Rien – This has my Sammy’s name written all over it. I will have to wait for a weekend when our wrenches will not be needed for a while. I have a feeling after we make this we won’t be able to wrench (?) for a few weeks.
The Most Creative DIY Musical Instruments for Kids!
Tubaphone by Play, Sing, Laugh (link no longer available) – Well, just look at it!! I am surprised I am still sitting here writing and not creating one of these myself right now!
Den Den Drums by Learning 4 Kids – I had never thought to use a wooden spoon for a drum—such simple creativity!
French Horn by Savvy Homemade – Bet you have never seen a french horn quite like this one! For us, it will require some supplies we don’t have at home—like a funnel and corrugated pipe—but it just might be worth the trip!
Chicken in a Cup by All for the Boys – Learn something new every day, right? Who knew this was a thing?!
DIY Didgeridoo by Two-daloo (link no longer available) – Because some days you just need to make a Didgeridoo. Not sure what a Didgeridoo is? Well, today is the day to find out friends!
Coconut Shell Instruments by Two-daloo (link no longer available) – This one is such a unique idea! What a fun way to explore sound.
The EASIEST Musical Instruments to Make
Aboriginal Clapping Sticks by Laughing Kids Learn – A wonderful homemade instrument to practice rhythm and beat.
Banging Wall by SouleMama – Such a lovely, open-ended invitation to create music, from my favourite blogger of all time!
Singing Straws by Krokotak – Now this one looks awesome! Take a few straws and tape and you have quite the creation.
Popsicle Stick Harmonica by Housing a Forest – We have already tried this homemade musical instrument and it is the ideal blend of simplicity and fun! Just grab some colored popsicle sticks and rubber bands, and you’re set.
Jingle Bell Ankle Bracelets by Twodaloo (link no longer available) – Put these little gems—made with painted wooden beads and jingle bells—on your ankle and just TRY to walk normally 🙂
Cardboard Guiro by Tiny Tapping Toes – I simply love how big this musical instrument is! Perfect for little ones who need to burn off some energy (also known as my kids… always).
Those are enough homemade musical instruments to keep us busy all winter—and hopefully for you and yours too!
I tell you friends, if you are ever not sure what to do with your preschoolers on a rainy day, or if a playdate is going awry, or if it’s a snow day for the big kids… homemade musical instruments will be your saving grace.
Here’s hoping Mama doesn’t get a headache!
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Guy Gardener says
Using old wrenches like that seems really cool. I have a few spares laying around I can use. How would broken ones work, or do they have to be new?
Interesting question – I haven’t tried with broken wrenches but I think if you played with the positioning you would be okay. Let me know if you try!
Guy Gardener says
IT DOES NOT WORK AT ALL WITH BROKEN WRENCHES!!!
Eeek – really good to know. Thanks for sharing!
Samuel T. Cummins says
What a great round up. My little boy is pretty much obsessed with making anything a musical instrument. he loves to make noise and especially loves playing with anything musical. These homemade instruments are quick and easy to make and based on simple recycled materials. My toddler is going to love these!. Thanks for sharing..
So glad they are helpful ideas for you and yours Samuel. Thank you for taking the time to let me know!
Betty W. Ettinger says
I just saw (and pinned) Baby Guitar on Pinterest and wanted to tell you how much I love it! What a clever idea, and so simple!